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BYOB (Be Your Own Boss) RuNT Recap

Written By Hannah Risser-Sperry | Nov 21, 2019

Ahhh, RuNT. Los Angeles has missed you.

LA has been RuNT-less since 2017; far too long, if you ask me.

So this year, we remedied the situation. We brought an all star cast of speakers, incredible food from Mee & Greet, and a wide array of our incredible Los Angeles talent to dots SPACE in Culver City. We listened, we learned, we networked. Everyone went home happy.

And how could they not? First of all, this space is amazing. Open air and under the stars (I mean we couldn’t see them, but we assumed they were there), we heard from our three incredible speakers in a sort of backyard oasis. And then there was the food; garlic noodles, popcorn chicken, and crispy tofu from Mee & Greet. All of this and then…

Our speakers! We had Martyn Watts, freelance extraordinaire currently at Hulu. Then Cara Schaeffer, Recruiter at Buzzfeed. And finally Ray Hwang, Director of Product Messaging (and until recently, Creative Director) at Honey.

Oh and pssst, there are some photos of the event over on Facebook.

Martyn Watts

Martyn started our night off, calling on all freelancers to not just be their own boss, but to be their own business. To that end, he has eleven essential rules:

  1. Be Curious
  2. Be Creative
  3. Sell Yourself
  4. Don’t Sell Yourself Short
  5. Get Clients
  6. Get Better Clients
  7. Build Repeat Business
  8. Make Them Sing Your Praises
  9. Keep Leveling Up
  10. Set Yourself Apart
  11. Know Your Endgame

These steps may sound simple and straightforward, but each one involves a healthy amount of self-inventory, constant leveling up, a large dose of discernment, and an inability to be completely satisfied. Sounds a lot like successful freelancing to us.

Cara schaeffer

Cara was up next, representing not only Buzzfeed as a Recruiter, but also as a leader of their Culture Club. She works to ensure that everyone, temp or full-time employee, feels welcome and part of the team when they set foot in a Buzzfeed office. This means interview training for internal teams, creating policies with freelancers and full-timers in mind, and ensuring that everyone’s work environment serves them, whether they’re on staff for three years or a two week project.

How does she do that? The 4 Cs:

  • Culture (culture fit vs. culture add)
  • Celebration (celebrate your wins)
  • Communication (it’s key!)
  • Common Ground (always find a way to find it with your team)

She also had a lot to say about how to leave a company, which came up in Ray’s presentation as well. Sure, people will remember the good work you did while you were there. But they’ll remember how you left the team, as well, so make a graceful exit. And as you’re doing so, make sure to connect on LinkedIn, grab a goodbye cup of coffee, and have one last 1:1 to tie up any loose ends. These are contacts you may work with again or who will recommend you for your next gig, so leave on the best of terms.

ray hwang

Ray finished off the night with a look at how to get invited in and asked back. When thinking about your book or portfolio, he had a few basic tips: keep your site current (unless the work isn’t amazing), have a mix of new and established brands, but be sure to lead with the recognizable ones. And when you’re going in to interview, there are some basics that are easily forgotten: make sure you study category trends, bring up relevant trends, and check out their social media – the company, first and foremost, but also check out your interviewer on LinkedIn.

Then if you make it in, that rules! But don’t forget to work like everyone’s watching you (because they are), have a daily output even if it’s a longer or abstract project, mirror your partner (if they take a long lunch, so should you!) without outshining them, and most importantly: slow your roll. Make a good impression and be friendly but know that you’re there for the work.

And when it’s time to go? Don’t make it weird. Contracts end; it’s normal! Say so long, send a thank you, and connect after a little while. Stay in touch so that you’ll be asked back.

We learned an unbelievable amount from these three speakers, and we’re proud as hell to know each of them. Thank you to all who came out, and we can’t wait to see you at our next Los Angeles RuNT on May 7, 2020.

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